Assyria was considered a lion or a destroyer. Nahum wanted to know what had happened to this proud lion’s den or his cave. There his young cubs would be undisturbed. He had gathered enough prey for these lionesses, as well as their cubs. This lion of Assyria had filled his caves and dens with torn flesh. All this would be gone. Yahweh has issued an oracle against Assyria. Yahweh would burn their chariots as they would go up in smoke. Their young lions would die by the sword. They would lose all their prey. The voice of their messengers would not be heard anymore. The end of Nineveh and Assyria was near.
Amos wanted Amaziah to hear the word of Yahweh that he had heard. While Amaziah had said not to prophesize in Israel or against the house of Israel, Yahweh, via Amos, responded by telling him that his wife would become a prostitute in the city. Both his sons and daughters would die by the sword. His land would be parceled out by the line. Finally, Amaziah would die in a foreign unclean land, because Israel was going to be sent into exile into a land far from there. This was a very strong rebuke of Amaziah.
The Israelites were not crying out to Yahweh from their hearts. Instead they were weeping and wailing in their own beds. They gashed themselves that had been forbidden by the law of Moses, hoping for grain and wine. They had rebelled against Yahweh. Yet it was Yahweh who had trained them and strengthened their arms. However, they continually devised evil against Yahweh, turning to the useless Baal gods. They had become defective bows that could not shoot arrows. Thus, their officials would fall by the sword. Their raging tongues sent them babbling to the Egyptians.
Yahweh God told Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that the land of Israel was going to become a wasteland. People would die by the sword. Wild animals would devour people in the open fields. People in the strongholds and caves would die from pestilence. The land would become desolate. The proud ones would come to an end. The mountains of Israel would be so desolate that no one would pass through them. Finally, they would know that Yahweh had made the land a desolation and a waste, because of all the abominations that they had committed.
Ezekiel had mentioned both these obscure kingdoms in chapter 27 when he was talking about the trading partners of Tyre. Meshech were the Assyrians in the mountain country of present day Turkey. Tubal seemed to be some Assyrians who had settled in today’s southern Turkey. Like those preceding, these two groups of people were uncircumcised. They, too, had spread terror in the land of the living, but also died by the sword.
Elam was the grandson of Noah or a people in present day southern Iran or Persia. Thus, Elam, with its inhabitants around its grave, was there in the pit, the shadowy afterlife. They had all been killed by the sword. They went down into the pit uncircumcised. While they were living, they had spread terror. Thus, they bear the same shame of the others who have gone down into the pit. They were in a bed with graves all around them, filled with uncircumcised people who were killed by the sword. The worst place in the pit was with these uncircumcised people who had died by the sword.
There apparently was a special place for the Assyrians in this pit or Sheol, the shadowy underworld of the afterlife. Somehow their graves were all around them, since they were all killed by the sword. Thus, their graves were set off in the uttermost parts of this pit. The Assyrian company armies were all around in graves also, since all of them had died by the sword. While they were living, they had spread terror. Now they were in the worst part of Sheol.
This section opens with a sarcastic question about who is more beautiful. The response is that they are to go down and lie with the uncircumcised people and those killed by the sword. Egypt with the multitude of their inhabitants has been handed over to death. The mighty chiefs with their helpers will speak to them in the middle of Sheol, the shadowy underworld of the afterlife. They will say that the Egyptians have come down to lie quietly with the uncircumcised and those killed by the sword, which is the worst place in Sheol.
Not only would Yahweh destroy many Egyptian cities, he was also going to take their surviving citizens captive. The young men of On and Pi-beseth would die by the sword. On was Heliopolis and Pi-beseth was Bubastis. Anyone still remaining alive in these cities would be taken into captivity. At Tehaphnehes or Tahpanhes, the day would become dark. Yahweh was going to put an end to the great dominion of Egypt. This powerful city would be covered, as if there was a cloud over it. The daughters-towns or suburbs of Tehaphnehes would also be taken into captivity. Yahweh was going to execute his judgment on Egypt, so that they would know that he was Yahweh, God.
Repeating what was said in the previous chapter, Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that those supporting Egypt would also fall. The pride of Egypt would be abolished from the northern town of Migdol to the southern town of Syene, near the Ethiopian border. All would die by the sword.